Meet ‘Razana’ - The Jurassic Period Crocodile That Could Challenge A T-Rex

First Posted: Jul 07, 2017 05:30 AM EDT

An ancient and extinct crocodile-like predator from the middle Jurassic Period has been discovered to have had enormous teeth similar to a Tyrannosaurus rex (T-rex). According to the scientists, the animal was a top land predator even during the time of the dinosaurs.

CNN has reported that the fossil of the animal, found in Madagascar, had serrated teeth even larger than those of a T-rex and massive jawbones that indicated that it fed on hard tissue such as tendon and bone just like the T-rex. The anatomical features of the fossil led the scientists to categorize it as a Jurassic notosuchian. It was a predator close to the South American sebecids and baurusuchids that were highly skilled in terrestrial habits. However, these predators were different from modern crocodiles in having powerful erect limbs and a deep skull.

Scientists have classified the crocodile-like predator as Razanandrongobe sakalavae, literally translating to giant lizard ancestor from Sakalava region. Dubbed as Razana, the predator is believed to be the most ancient and probably the largest representative of Notosuchians -- a group of crocodile-like animals.

Razana also had some chisel-like incisor front teeth that could clean off meat from the bones. This particular feature has led the research team to believe that the predator was a scavenger and a hunter. Moreover, though it might not have been a fast runner, it would be good at ambushing and scavenging quite like the present-day lions and hyenas. The predator could also walk on dry land as easily as it could swim across rivers.

“Like these and other gigantic crocs from the Cretaceous, ‘Razana’ could outcompete even theropod dinosaurs, at the top of the food chain,” researcher Cristiano Dal Sasso said, as per The Indian Express. “In actual fact, it contributes to filling in a gap in the group’s evolution, which contains a long ghost lineage in the Jurassic."

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